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I had the pleasure of attending the Congress School Meet and Greet last Thursday evening. The intention of the event was to get residents of east hills familiar with this great neighborhood school and all it has to offer to both current and future students. The event was a success with a great turnout that included many east hills residents, business owners, Mayor Heartwell, and even a handful of former Congress School students.
Though it had been a while since I had been in an elementary school, I had never been in one as colorful, warm, and creative as the hallways of Congress displayed to me right upon my first steps inside. Student artwork covered the walls and the lockers were painted a rich turquoise with decorative nametags distinguishing each student’s locker from the other. What particularly caught my eye was the repetitive emphasis on the importance of reading, self-confidence, respect, and kindness. This was shown not only by the hanging of motivational posters and artworks, but also by the displays of students’ artworks and writings for all to see and read.
Congress principal Bridget Cheney welcomed the attendees and myself with warmth and kindness as we all settled in the library. Congress’s vibrant library displayed various children’s books up for grabs during a yearly book-fair event (hey, I remember those!) and included a vast selection of library books as well. Again, the emphasis on reading was clearly shown in a fun and interactive way that would inspire both children and adults.
Before Cheney started the tour, she expressed her gratitude for the event and her goals and aspirations for the school. The tour followed, and as I walked the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors of the pre-kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school, I was impressed to see the themes of art, color, and reading continue throughout the entirety of the building. Each classroom I entered, whether one for kindergarteners or fifth graders, was decorated accordingly and embellished with bright colors. The bottom floor of the school revealed a large gymnasium with two basketball hoops and a stage decked out with a green curtain.
I was extremely inspired and impressed after leaving the Congress Elementary School Meet and Greet. Seeing and experiencing such a wonderful school right in the center of a neighborhood I live in and love made me even more excited and thankful to be a part of it.
In case you missed the event, here are a few “fast facts” about what Congress Elementary School has to offer:
- We believe in educating the whole child.
- We believe to celebrate diversity; we much first know the child’s individuality.
- We are fortunate enough to have 57 Schools of Hope Tutors and 48 Kids Hope mentors who meet with our students once per week to assist in attainment of students’ academic and social goals.
- Our English Language Learner after-school program is attended by 29 students and is at full capacity.
- Congress was a finalist in the Meijer Good Schools Grant competition last school year (ranking 3rd out of 10 schools)!
If you are interested in volunteering or finding out what you can do to support Congress Elementary School, please contact Claire Fisher at: [email protected].
East Hills loves Congress!
East Hills Council of Neighbors is a catalyst for neighborhood renewal through effective, grassroots community organizing. For over twenty-five years the organization has worked on crime prevention, community building, and home ownership initiatives. While these activities continue, the need for a greater level of redevelopment is also being addressed. Extensive work on Wealthy Street, the corner of Lake and Diamond, and 920 Cherry have been the result of long term grassroots organizing. East Hills has always reached beyond the status quo to address the needs of the community as a whole, and to diligently create and maintain a diverse, safe and sustainable community in which everyone can live, work, shop and play.